DK Eye Witness Guide to South Africa
WHAT DO YOU GET?
They are usually in a heavy paperback form with a good solid cover which has flaps like a hardback book might have. They are all in the same format with DK Eyewitness Travel at the top and under that is the name of the city or country, a photo below that and then a summary of the main topics inside the book is found at the bottom of the front cover.
Their catch phrase is, " The guides that show you what others only tell you." And that pretty much is true and summarises their guide books. You can buy them for cities and also for countries but sadly they don't cover all cities and countries, usually the more popular ones.
OPENING THE GUIDE
Inside the front cover of this one is a very simple map of South Africa showing the main areas in different colours and this is how the book is broken up too, into the six main areas of the country. A photo , the name of the area eg Gauteng and Mpumalanga and page numbers of where each different section can be found is also on this inside front cover so it is a sort of extra index too.
There is a proper index or contents page as well and as well as the area by area guide you find things covered like " Malay Culture in Cape Town" and ‘ Further Afield’ which takes you beyond the city of Cape Town and into the places nearby.
We used the Wine area of Stellenbosch and Paarl to choose which vineyards to visit. The guide had double page spreads on many of the big or different vineyards.
The maps in the book are really good. They have the whole country by area, then the entire country with main roads but again within each section you get more detailed maps with photos and a few notes as to what is there.
In CapeTown there are individual maps and guides within the section on, Table Mountain’, ‘The Centre’ ‘The Victoria and Albert shopping area’ and so many more. What I particularly like about their maps of the smaller areas is that the sights to see of special interest are pointed out on the map with a small symbol ( picture) and around the outside of the map there are photos of these with an arrow pointing to where they are on the map. It is so simple a child could use it and it does mean if you take it out and about with you there is no difficulty map reading as they are clear and printed on sensible sized pages so you are not flipping backwards and forwards with flappy bits of paper that blow in the wind trying to read street names.
As well as the maps at the start of each area with a summary you will find at the back of the book after the index pages there are street maps of all around the main part of the main cities with very clear street names marked on there so you can walk street by street around the city if you want to.
A BIT OF BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE
Most people visiting a new place want to know a bit of history about the place and this guide gives a very good history run down explaining different aspects of this amazing country. We have pages on a quick history and a bit about the general climate and culture.